Trevor Paglen is an artist, researcher, and writer based in New York and San Francisco. Trevor Paglen develops and presents a prototype for a Useless Satellite to be located in the public realm. The satellite is designed following and according to current aero-spatial technological standards. This mysterious and useless object silently comments on the military purposes and private-intelligence use for a satellite.

As the piece becomes purely sculptural, since it intentionally serves nobody, its lack of purpose questions people’s understanding of the political dynamics and power forces at play in the outer space. Constructed from materials to maximise brightness and minimize weight, the spacecraft/sculpture is intended to be able to orbit the Earth only for few weeks, before burning up harmlessly and disappearing from sight.

Social scientist, artist, writer and provocateur, Paglen has been exploring the secret activities of the U.S. military and intelligence agencies – the black world – for the last eight years, publishing, speaking and making astonishing photographs.

His art practice centers around making what is typically invisible visible – specifically, covert military and intelligence operations in the United States. Paglen travels to remote desert sites to capture reconnoissance satellites in the night sky or hidden military installations. As a result, Paglen’s photographs are aesthetic explorations of his interest in ‘black sites’ – attempts to grasp the abstract questions that these sites pose about the socio-political moment.

Prototype for a Nonfuctional Satellite (Design 1, Build 1: ‘The Kite’), 2012

Mixed media installation
Exhibited at The Cunard Building